Defect Free Building in New South Wales

Defect Free Building in New South Wales

I have been chairman of the multi-disciplinary committee (MDC) of Engineers Australia since 2012. A lot has happened in the last four years. In 2014 Michael Lambert (previously NSW Treasury Official) was appointed by the government to undertake a report into concerning standards in the building industry. This has been a problem for the government for at least six years. MDC-EA submitted a report in June 2013 in which we highlighted two appalling statistics; 1. 85% of Strata units in NSW are defective at completion.

  1. 2. The cost of Home Owners Warranty Insurance is around 27% of the annual cost of construction (note that cost only covers builders bankruptcy and death). There is no cover for normal defects.

The Lambert Report was presented to Government in late 2015. Finally in September 2016, I was invited along with 11 other selective persons to go to Parliament House. There we listened to Minister Victor Dominello present a briefing of the Government’s response, which would be issued the next day. The industry as a whole is very keen to see adoption of the recommendations of the Lambert Report. The Dominello briefing was full of positive comment regarding the report but lacking in detail.

The following organisations support the Lambert Report;

  • Engineers Australia (EA)
  • Building Designers Association (BDA)
  • Society of Construction Law Australia (SoCLA)
  • Society of Building Services Engineers (SBSE)
  • Living Australia (LA)
  • Australian Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Insurance Industry Australia thru Mecon Insurance
  • Australian Institute of Building (AIB)
  • Owners Corporation Network (OCN)

Professional Public Relations (PPR) has been appointed by the group above to promote the need for adoption of the Lambert Report. A campaign “Lambert or Lose” has been promised to the Government as something, which will be launched in the media if they fail to act positively and quickly. It has now been a full year since they received the report. Patience is wearing very thin.

At the September briefing I made it very clear to the Minister that the industry created the mess, he must provide a framework so that industry can fix the mess from within the system orchestrated by them. The June 2013 MDC-EA Report, together with the Lambert Report have already identified how it can be done. We just need the Government approval to proceed.


Charles Rickard